Willow blog

The Perfect Start to Christmas

December 5, 2014

Willow’s Annual Carol Concert provided the perfect evening by which to start the festive season. More than 500 people from the local community, including the Mayor of St Albans, joined the charity in the picturesque Cathedral for outstanding performances by the Hertfordshire Chorus and The Bishop’s Choir and readings from Willow Life President Bob Wilson, the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Fergus McMullen, Borras Construction CEO Rae Borras and a thank you from Special Day Beneficiary Rachel Kierstenson, from Hertfordshire. Thanks to the generosity of guests and sponsors, Borras Construction, the evening was a huge success and raised more than £14,000 towards future Special Days.

Venerable Jonathan Smith, the Archdeacon of St Albans welcomed the congregation and started proceedings by commenting that he had been at Bob Wilson’s last ever professional football match as a fan and that it was an honour to preside over this, the 15th Annual Willow Carol Concert.

One strong supporter is the Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School, where Bob and Megs’ daughter Anna was a student from 1978 to 1984 and which this year, in aid of Willow, is taking part in the Dragon’s Apprentice Challenge which encourages students to find imaginative ways to raise funds. The school’s Bishop’s Choir is an amalgamation of the teen choir, the musical theatre group and ‘The Kicks’ (Bishop’s Hatfield’s response to the TV hit show Glee). They treated attendees to a delightful performance of festive favourites.

Willow fulfilled the first Special Day in Christmas 1999, with a theatre trip to see Mamma Mia for a young lady diagnosed with cancer. Theatre trips remain one of the most popular Special Day requests and along with trips to sporting events, family leisure resorts and weekends away, the charity has fulfilled more than 10,800 Special Days in its 15 year history.  Willow’s CEO, David White reflected in his speech: “Someone once said “When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”  Thanks to your support Willow continues to provide the simplest of days – all of which generate the greatest joy – that of spending precious time with loved ones at the most difficult of times.”

Willow’s Life President and Co-founder Bob Wilson said: “It has been an uplifting evening and the perfect start to Christmas.  It is a privilege to have the concert in the beautiful St Albans Cathedral for the sixth year and it was wonderful to be surrounded by so many familiar faces.  Megs and I would like to thank everyone here tonight for making their voices heard and for making so many Special Days possible this year. Each and every one of you is a valued member of the Willow family.”
Before inviting attendees to join him for mince pies and mulled wine, the Venerable Jonathan Smith reflected that there was an uplifting atmosphere of love, joy, happiness and care filling the cathedral.

View photographs of the evening